Twenty-Four Story Residential Tower Proposed for Downtown Clayton

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The Crossing in Clayton

A $350 million Clayton mixed-use project is expected to break ground in late spring 2014. The multi-phase project is being spearheaded by Chesterfield-based real estate firm GTE Properties and HDA Architects as the design lead. The Crossing in Clayton transit oriented development project is adjacent to the Clayton Central Avenue MetroLink stop. It is bounded by Meramec Ave. on the west, Bonhomme Ave. on the north, Central Ave. on the east, and the 1280-space Shaw Park Municipal Garage to the south.

The first phase will cost $70 million and feature construction of a 24-story luxury apartment tower. The building will include 255 rental units, and be developed at the southeast corner of Bonhomme and Meramec Ave. The Crossing in Clayton is aiming to offer an urban setting and closeness to mass transit to attract professionals, corporate travelers, and students seeking the flexibility and advantages of renting.

The Crossing in Clayton

Initial occupancy is currently scheduled for early January 2016. Now Bi-State Development Agency CEO, John Nations commented several years ago while at the law firm Armstrong Teasdale LLP that a proposed project at this site, “will benefit the entire St. Louis metropolitan region by fostering and accelerating transit ridership goals of Metrolink.” The development site is adjacent to Forest Park Parkway, and ¼ mile east of I-170 making for easy access to the metropolitan area. Downtown St. Louis and Lambert-St. Louis international Airport are both within 15-minutes of The Crossing in Clayton.

GTE and Chicago-based development firm CA Ventures have been in talks with the City of Clayton to make sure the project meets land use goals recently adopted by the city. “This will be the Chicago firm’s first project in the area,” said Executive Vice President Jerry Crylen who leads investment, development, and acquisition of CA Ventures multi-family practice. Formerly, Crylen lead Duke Realty Corporations St. Louis office chaired the Urban Land Institute’s St. Louis District Council.

The Crossing in Clayton

{$350M The Crossing in Clayton development site outlined in blue, Phase I in yellow}

The Crossing in Clayton

{streetview of Meramec at Bonhomme, site of Phase I}

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  • John

    This is awesome! However, someone needs to build some more affordable rental units in another tower directly adjacent to the Forsyth station. It’s underused and would be a great place for Wash-U students to live in a high-rise in an urban setting close to campus and not too far from the Loop. That station has loads of untapped potential. What ever happened to the towers proposed there a few years ago? I remember there were a few of them and they were orange.

  • Framer

    Odd location for residential.

    • Eric5434

      Why? Look at all the residential just one block west.

      • Framer

        Seems to me that most of the residential in Clayton is on the periphery.

        • Gary

          I think there’s already residential property on that very spot. I could be wrong, but I’ve always assumed the four buildings along Meramec were homes/condos

          • STLEnginerd

            Not to mention it seems like the PERFECT SPOT for residential. I.e just because the current residential is on the periphery there really should be more residential in the heart of Clayton, and near the metro link stop to boot. My only concern is the “upscale” target market won’t properly use the metro link as they will have their Mercedes conveniently parked in the garage. I think that is Clayton’s biggest flaw, the limited demographics. Not saying they should be blue collar or low income, but students and young professionals would vastly improve the vibrancy where as more 40 somethings won’t really have the same positive impact. Ditto for the Forsyth station.

  • Dogtown dude

    So, what dies the remaining $280 Million going to build?

  • Ann Wimsatt

    Good grief. That’s the design for a residential building in an ‘urban setting’? That tower hits the ground like the anti-urban Centene Building–and all of the other anti-urban towers in Clayton.

    On the other hand, this Clayton development shows the power of the global Millennial movement towards ‘urban’ living. This is a direct competitor to The Loop, the CWE, FPSE and downtown. Time to sharpen those ‘urban’ planning tools, kids.

    May the best, most vibrant, truly ‘urban’ cities win!

    • samizdat

      It meets the street like the atrocious Park East in the CWE: gracefully, like a sledgehammer through a plate-glass window.

      Funny thing, this rendering reminds me strongly of the Skyhouse design for Washington Ave, ie, neither is particularly attractive.

      • Ann Wimsatt

        At least Park East has a retail/restaurant space on the ground level–although WUSTL sponsored Central Table is dying on the vine for lack of true Urban indoor/outdoor access like Brasserie.

  • ParallelParker

    Always nice to see transit related development, but this is one ugly unwelcoming building. Clayton has made this mistake many times before.

    • kuan

      Ooph. You’re not kidding – that’s pretty bad. But, it’s in Clayton, so who cares, amiright?

    • Eric5434

      It won’t be the ugliest structure on its corner. Arguably, not even the second ugliest.

      I want to know what they’re doing on the ground floor, with the dark windows (underneath 3 levels of parking – a nice improvement over the nearby surface lots). Part of that ground floor is needed as a lobby for the building residents, but would it hurt them to put a couple retail slots there too? Otherwise, there’s nothing “mixed use” about the development, at least at this stage.

    • jane

      how do you find this building unwelcoming? This is a sleek design… it utilizes glass and granite throughout based on this rendering. I don’t see anything in Clayton that matches this, I’m curious to hear the basis of your comment.

    • moe

      I have to agree…..the parking segment looks cold and unwelcoming. The tower itself looks very 60’s modern-ish, bland and sterile. No decks and the color palette is boring. Nothing “pops”. Just another office building.

  • Mike Brockman

    I am starting to call Clayton ‘uptown’ STL so I feel better them getting this type of development over downtown.

    • Skim

      Except that it isn’t STL. It’s Clayton, a suburb.

      • Mike Brockman

        ^^ *about them (typo)

        And, yes i know its a ‘burb and thats why I’m pretending it’s not.

        • imran

          Plus, development in Clayton does help keep the center of gravity closer to the city than, say, Chesterfield.

          • John

            Yes, I am glad that STL’s second CBD is so close to the City as opposed to Chesterfield. Imagine if Clayton were nothing and everything there were way out in Chesterfield instead! That would just be terrible. Most of my friends aren’t very familiar with the area and tell me that they just assumed Clayton was just some western part of Downtown St. Louis City. To most people, “Downtown” is pretty much any urban area.

            “Ooooh, skyscrapers and old buildings, that’s Downtown.”

    • dempster holland

      My view is that the arch to Shaw park/Gallaria is the new
      downtown==sort of like our own mini-Manhatten

  • Presbyterian

    Great to see new residential in Clayton. I’m not sure where the door is, though.

    • Aaron

      Ha… you’re right. So intentional. Transit oriented? Transit defense oriented is more like it.

      • Brian

        Had the same thought. It reminds me of the jail, er, justice center.

    • cori

      the main entrance is probably on the south end of the development.. it makes no sense to have the entrance on that corner based on people being picked up and dropped off. The entrance to the garage must be on that end as well.

  • STLgasm

    With all the surface parking lots and straight up grassy fields in downtown Clayton, I can’t understand why a new high-rise needs to be built in place of existing buildings. Yay for another Clayton box!

    • Kurt

      my background is in economic development for STL as a whole. I’m familiar with the surrounding area where the highrise is proposed. This is the first time I’ve seen this story and can say this is a huge upgrade over the antiquated structures that are there. To my knowledge, those buildings are mostly vacant. To put in a development like this will bring in new foot traffic to clayton, which will increase retail sales, improve night life and spur cultural events.

      • samizdat

        “To my knowledge, those buildings are mostly vacant.”

        If that’s true, I’ve got one word for you: land-banking.

      • Adam

        they’re only vacant because Montgomery owns the entire block, and they happen to want to demolish them.

  • suzanne

    these comments are exactly why st. louis is a third tier city. st. louis residents have never thought outside of their comfort zones, which is why the young generation is moving away and / or not coming back after college.

    this development will have a HUGE financial impact on clayton and will bring a ton of young upcoming professionals to the area. i travel a lot for my job to major cities such as chicago, new york, dallas etc. it’s these type of structures that give those destinations a big city feel.

    so my suggestion is … get out of your conservative comfort zone … think outside the box. i really wonder what the age demographic is in some of these responses. i’d also love to know what area they reside in. i think the answer to those two questions will show why these people think that way.

    if you don’t believe me about the big city feel and architecture in these cities … i recommend visiting them …. my guess is you’ve never been outside of st. louis. i am definitely interested in moving there if my finances allow me to.

    • Aaron

      It would be fitting if this building had a big financial impact because it looks like a bank.

    • Ann Wimsatt

      Conrad Properties developed a modern 208 unit rental apartment on Shaw Park with a street friendly base. They had a heck of time leasing the units–and selling the building. As did the subsequent buyers. http://www.bizjournals.com/stlouis/print-edition/2012/01/20/koman-puts-clayton-on-the-park-back-in.html?page=all

      • Nick

        actually, this building was purchased by the Koman group in 2012… The building was leased and is currently in the process of being sold for 80 million… The Koman group stands to make millions of dollars on this project.. I think this is why a high profile firm from Chicago is developing this project…

        • Ann Wimsatt

          There is a global tide of Millennials moving into urban areas. Chicago developers have made a mint expanding the urban areas of the Windy City. There are a couple of Chicago developers looking at tall towers on Kingshighway as well.

          Clayton on the Park was built for $40M in 2000, sold to Konman for $34M in 2012. Koman put in another $5M to renovate it in 2012, bringing the total back up to $39M. I haven’t heard whether or not it’s fully leased. I doubt it. There is a semi-glut of luxury apartments in St Louis right now. The building is for sale for $80M. That’s a big number to carry when 208 units rent for an average of say, $2000.00

          Count me as a fan of Bob and Lou Saur. Losing them from the apartment market was a loss for modern architectural design in the city. That said, I stayed at Clayton on the Park several times and the apartments are…not luxury standard. The ceilings are low, the spaces are small. It has the feel of a mid-level Suites Hotel. My opinion, of course.

          • Chris Meyers

            Hmmm…tall towers on Kingshighway??? How tall are we talking here and where at??? Inquiring minds want to know…

          • Ann Wimsatt

            Like, really really tall. There are two empty lots at Kingshighway and Lindell, overlooking spectacular views of Forest Park.

            Last year, there were two different tower projects in play. One was a proposed mixed use Laclede Gas tower–eventually wooed downtown to the GenAm building. The other was a residential tower designed by Jeanne Gang of Chicago for Chicago developers. That project is on hold.

          • Eric5434

            The whole of Lindell has spectacular views of Forest Park. It should all be zoned for towers.

          • Joe Schmoe

            Sources?

          • John

            Every time I drive by Lindell and Kingshighway I think there need to be massive towers there. They would be THE best addresses in the whole region.

          • imran

            For that matter the Straubs property could eventually be built up as well (Barring NIMBY tantrums) and Straubs could be housed in the base of a highrise designed to complement the Chase. Just dreaming out loud…..

    • Alex Ihnen

      You’ve offered a lot of loaded assumptions here. The site often invites critiques, no matter the proposal – it’s kind of what we do here, trying to advocate for better development, the little things that could improve just about any building. I’ve met many, if not most, of the commenters here and you would apparently be surprised at how much people have traveled and lived overseas. This isn’t the conservative demographic you see.

    • samizdat

      My wife and I own more architecture and design books (not including my textbooks from the aborted attempts at an architecture career) than you’ve got years on this planet. And my wife has been out of the country on a couple of occasions. So, we are experienced and well-educated adults, who have broad and wide-ranging interests, something which can only come from age and observation. As Mr. Ihnen notes, most of the posters here are either professionals in the various and sundry associated fields, or hobbyists/buffs like myself. We only want the best for a City and region we love, and we illustrate that affection by ripping into lackluster designs like this gray brick.

      This building has nice proportions, but as others have noted, is seriously flawed in many other aspects of its design, not least of which is the manner in which it presents itself to the street. Context is important, and in this context, with this design, this building is found lacking.

  • imran

    Can we try and not be condescending? (can’t we all just get along :)
    I think the building would be a good addition to any urban area. It would
    work in Clayton, U city. CWE, Grand Center or even downtown. It
    increases density, brings in more 24/7 occupants and there is not-so-visible parking contained within the structure. It seems to be mostly metal and glass, not faux-historic brick panels or cheap looking stucco.
    Sure it could have a more welcoming pedestrian entrance and be trimmed with
    retail on the ground floor but then not every highrise building needs to have retail. Its okay to have some of these to balance out what the region has to offer.

  • Joe Schmoe

    This a big improvement, I see nothing wrong with this tower. Every tower doesn’t have to have ground floor retail to add density.

    • dempster holland

      This is just what everyone favoring transit oriented development
      has wanted, I would assume. And I also
      thought everyone liked density Why the controversy?

      • John

        It won’t be so controversial if they put in retail. That’s what Clayton lacks. Some people also don’t seem to think it’s pretty, but whatever. What can ya do? I think it looks neat.

  • tpekren

    I think it is good for a couple reasons. Yes, it is a tower on top of a parking garage but puts the right scale in the right place while offering easy walk to metrolink and desired residential component for downtown Clayton. Heck, I can see construction starting on this before the proposed townhouses on the old school property. I agree Kurt’s sentiments. Which also reminds of the Tri proposal a few years back that included residential tower next to the Forsyth metrolink station, will we see that proposal be brought back from the dead?
    .
    Now onto to the next item – The region now has two competing residential tower proposals. This one in downtown Clayton and Opus proposed residential in CWE. While OPUS is only a twelve story it is still a tower relative with what else is being built or proposed of late. Which also gets to the fact that you supposedly got a Drury residential/hotel? possibility downtown next to Eads Bridge and the possibility of a BPV phase II residential tower if DeWitt ever announces something meaningful. At end of day, will we see the additional two towers proposed for downtown STL in the next year? Which will be built first? and can the region have four residential towers break ground next year?

  • STLouisian

    I wonder when we are going to see a similar project in Forest Park – DeBaliviere neighborhood.

  • John R

    If they were to put up a similar tower or two as people suspect, that would be a heck of a lot of people…. 250 units each in three towers would plop 1,000+ people right by metrolink. That would be impressive and positive return could mean similar projects elsewhere along Metrolink. As StLouisian says, the FPP/DeBaliviere station could use some TOD love.

    • John

      The TOD study they did shows renderings of mid-rise buildings around the FP station. However, it wouldn’t hurt to throw in a multi-phase development even half this size! That area is probably going to be in high demand as it is not just the convergence of both Metro lines, but also where the Loop Trolley will be looping around. And isn’t the Trolley supposed to have ultra-fast high-speed internet? That should help lure some office tenants to the neighborhood, and therefore more residents. The demand will be there.

      • John R

        Thanks. I heard that high-speed fiber was part of the project as well but don’t know the status.

  • Benjamin Aronov

    There are two phases to the project, is it a total of two towers then?